OKLAHOMA CITY, Sporting Alert – The Oklahoma City Thunder return to preseason action on Friday night against Fenerbahce Ulker at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
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Oklahoma City started its preseason schedule on Wednesday with a 122-99 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves – a game which saw star forward Kevin Durant returning to the court for the first time since breaking his leg in February.
During that encounter at Target Center, Durant scored 15 points on 5 of 8 shooting and had five assists in 22 minutes.
He was delighted to finally get back to playing competitively after being on the sidelines for eight months.
“I felt great,” Durant told reporters after the contest. “I think it was a little different.
“I haven’t been in my routine in a while as far as going to shootaround, taking my nap, getting to the game.
“So all that stuff was different. But once I got on the court, I felt right at home.”
Star guard Russell Westbrook also had a solid opening preseason game – finishing with 14 points, 13 assists and eight rebounds, with only two turnovers in 22 minutes.
Serge Ibaka led all Thunder scorers against the Timberwolves with 18 points.
Come Friday night, head coach Billy Donovan is expected to continue using his stars sparingly, especially Durant and Westbrook, as he works his superstars back into game-like shape.
The Oklahoma City Thunder shot an impressive 55.6 percent from the floor on 50 of 90 in the preseason opening game, while going 50 percent (11 of 22) from three-point range, with Anthony Morrow connecting on three of them.
Donovan’s men also outrebounded Minnesota 45-27, while scoring 26 fast break points and 58 points in the paint.
Meanwhile, Fenerbahce Ulker are coming off a 101-96 win over the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center, on Monday night and should be strong opponents for the NBA outfits.
Against the Nets, Jan Vesely had 18 points and six rebounds and Bogdan Bogdanovic added 17 points and Luigi Datome finished with 16.
They will again need to be watched closely, along with Kostas Sloukas, who grabbed a double-double against Brooklyn.
The Turkish side was also impressive from 3-point range on Monday, after shooting 52.4 percent on 11 of 21 shooting.
Following Friday night’s game against the Euroleague outfits, the Oklahoma City Thunder will make the short trip to Tulsa to face the Dallas Mavericks at BOK Center, next Tuesday.